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Auto review: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is plug-in, off-road ready

Charles Fleming, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

The SEL version will start at $35,530. The GT version will start at $41,235.

Mitsubishi executives noted that the plug-in hybrid price is not much higher than the gasoline Outlander equivalent, and is much lower after federal and state rebates and tax incentives are factored in. Those credits could amount to $7,000 or more for California residents.

But the company has a challenge. Mitsubishi, which currently offers only the Mirage and Lancer sedans in its vehicle lineup -- though it will soon introduce its Eclipse Cross for the 2018 model year -- is generally last-to-mind among car shoppers whose awareness of Japanese companies may be limited to Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Nissan and Mazda.

As Mitsubishi's senior director of marketing, Francine Harsini, said, "We have a great product but not enough people know who we are or what we have to offer."

That may be why Mitsubishi expects to sell fewer than 4,000 Outlander PHEVs a year in the U.S., though about 100,000 units have been sold in Japan and Europe since the model was introduced in 2014.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Quick take: Capable SUV with plug-in technology

Highs: Quiet, comfortable, rechargeable

Lows: Do many people want a plug-in SUV?

Vehicle type: Four-door, five-passenger crossover

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